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Nursery management in horticultural crops -Compendium

Book · September 2010


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4 authors, including:

Prakash Tripathi Samarendra Hazarika

Indian Institute of Horticultural Research ICAR Research Complex for North Eastern Hill Region, Umiam, Meghalaya


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Training programme

Nursery Management
in Horticultural Crops
for the
from 9th – 13th August 2010

Central Horticultural Experiment Station
(Indian Institute of Horticultural Research)
Chettalli, Somwarpet Taluk, Kodagu, Karnataka – 571248

No. Topic Page No.

1. Nursery Management – An Introduction 1

2. Production of quality planting material of Coorg mandarin 18

3. Nursery management in black pepper and cardamom 26

4. Nutrient Management in Nursery Plants 30

5. Marketing intelligence for Nursery plants 34

Compiled by:

Dr. P.C. Tripathi

Dr. S. Hazarika


Formatted by
CHES, Chettalli – 571 248
Nursery Management – An Introduction

Dr. P.C. Tripathi

Principal Scientist and Head
CHES, Chettalli – 571 248


Nursery is an area where the plants are propagated and maintained in the initial years. Most of
the horticultural crops are raised in nurseries and than transplanted in the field. The nursery
ensures better germination and establishment and also ensures saving of time, area and labour
and makes easy maintenance. The establishment of nursery requires knowledge of propagation
methods and resources such as land, mother plants and plant propagation structures, growing
media, containers, and mixture for containers, propagation equipments.


The method of production of more than one plant from the mother plant or the tissue over a
specific time period is termed as plant propagation. The production of true to type progeny
from the mother plant is the prime objective of propagation. The multiplication of plants
depends on the plant species, variety, method of propagation, climatic and growth conditions.
There are three aspects of plant propagation a) Art of propagation b) Growth and plant growth
and structure, c) Knowledge of methods of propagation. Plant propagation is primarily done by
conventional methods, which include sexual and asexual methods. However, in the recent past
plant propagation through biotechnological applications have made great contributions towards
mass scale production of plants.

1.1 Sexual Method of Propagation: In this method the plants are raised from seeds.

1. Seed propagation is essential for evolving of new varieties through breeding.
2. In some fruit plants like papaya, this is the most popular method of propagation.
3. Seed propagated rootstocks are hardy and develop better root system.
4. Viruses don’t transmit through seeds, thus mostly the seedlings are free from virus diseases.


1. Seedlings have a long juvenile period and come into bearing later as compared to asexually
raised plants.
2. The progeny is not true-to-type due to segregation of characters.

Propagation by Seed

In fruit plants the propagation through seed is primarily done to raise rootstocks. While some
fruit plants like papaya are conventionally seed propagated. Some of seeds have dormancy in
seeds, which is due to hard seed coat, physiological immaturity of embryo, deficiency of some
endogenous growth promoters, excess of endogenous growth inhibitors. Different methods like
stratification, scarification, and chemical treatments are used for breaking dormancy in seed to
improve germination. Stratification consists of keeping seeds at low temperature by placing
them in alternate layers of moist sand. While, in scarification the seeds are either treated with
concentrated acid or the seed coat is weakened mechanically, so as to make it permeable to
water and gases. In other instances, seeds are treated with some chemicals like gibbrellic acid,
thiourea or potassium nitrate to improve seed germination. Soaking seeds in water also
overcome seed dormancy, if it is due to endogenous growth inhibitors. The emergence of a new
seedling plant is known as germination. For the germination seed must be viable and the
environmental conditions must be appropriate.

1.2 Apomixis

This is a natural mechanism during which vegetative embryo is produced instead of sexual or
zygotic embryo. In other words, the apomixis occurs when an embryo is produced from a
single cell of the saprophyte and does not develop from fertilization of two gametes. The
seedlings produced are thus true to type and vigorous as compared to those produced through
sexual means.


Polyembryony refers to the seeds having more than one embryo in the seed. One of the
embryos arises from the union of male and female gametes and is called gametic or sexual
embryo, whereas the others are produced by simple mitotic division of cells of nucellus without
the help of male gamete in their formation. The phenomenon of nucellar embryo is of common
occurrence in citrus and mango. In general, the nucellar seedlings are identified or in other
words the zygotic seedlings are rouged out of nursery in step-by-step approach. In this method,
the majority of the seedlings which fall within one vigour group and are more or less of the
same size are considered to be nucellar. Others which are either too small or too tall than the
commonly prevailing type are discarded and considered to be off type or zygotic. To eliminate
gametic seedlings, first rouging should be done when they are about 10 to 20 cm tall and ready
for transplanting in the nursery. The second rouging should be done at time of budding, while
third and final rouging should be done at time of selecting budded plants for transplanting in
the field.

1.3 Asexual (Vegetative) Method of Propagation

The propagation of plants by the method other than sexual propagation is referred as vegetative
or asexual propagation. It involves no change in genetic makeup of the new plant. All the
characteristics of the parent plant are reproduced in the daughter plant due to exact duplication
of chromosomes during cell division. Thus, the plants are true-to type in growth, ripening, yield
and fruit quality


1. In some fruit plants which do not bear seeds, this is the only method of propagation.
2. The plants are generally true-to-type, uniform in growth, yielding capacity and fruit quality.
3. The vegetative propagated plants have short juvenile phase and they come into bearing
earlier than seedling plants.
4. The advantages of rootstocks can be obtained by budding or grafting susceptible varieties
on resistant/ tolerant rootstocks.
5. Plants have restricted growth, thus cultural practices and harvesting are easy.


1. New variety cannot be evolved by this method.

2. The vegetatively propagated plants are less vigorous and short lived as compared to
seedling trees.
3. Germplasm conservation requires lot of space and is expensive as compared to storage of

Methods of Vegetative Propagation

There are different methods, which can be used for commercial multiplication of various fruit
plants. These include cutting, layering, budding and grafting.


In this method of propagating fruit plants in which the part of a plant having at least few buds,
when detached from parent plant and placed under favorable conditions develop into a
complete plant resembling in all characteristics to the parent from which it was taken. This
method is commonly used in plants, which root easily and readily, thus, multiplication of plants
is very quick and cheap. The hardwood cuttings are the common method of propagation, which
are prepared from fully mature tissues. The shoots of about one year old or more can easily be
used for preparing hardwood cuttings. In case of deciduous fruit plants such as grape,
pomegranate, phalsa and fig the cuttings are made after pruning. While in evergreen fruit
plants, the cuttings can be prepared during the spring (February –March) and rainy season
(August-September). Generally the cuttings of 15-20 cm length and having 3-5 buds are made.


Layering is a method of vegetative propagation, in which roots are induced on the shoots while
they are still attached to the mother plants. This is an alternate method of propagation in fruit
plants which do not root easily when detached from the mother plants. Most commonly used
methods of layering are air layering, ground and mound layering.

1. Air layering: As name refers, in this method the layering is done in air. The rooting is done
on the shoot itself when it is still attached to the mother plant. In this method one year old,
healthy and straight shoot is selected and ring of bark measuring about 2.5 cm just below a bud
is removed. Moist sphagnum moss is placed around this portion and is wrapped with a
polythene strip. It is light in weight, and has a very high water holding capacity. If sphagnum
moss is not available, any other material, which can retain moisture for long period of time, can
be used for this purpose. The polythene covering does not allow the moisture to come out but
permit gas exchange. Moreover the layers need not be watered afterwards, which saves a
considerable labour. Air layering can be practiced during February–March and July-August in
guava, litchi, sapota, loquat etc. After a few weeks the roots are developed which are visible
through the polythene covering. Then a half way cut should be given to the rooted layers on the
parent branch at least 15 days prior to their permanent removal from the mother plant. At the
time of separation, a few leaves or small shoot is retained. It is also advisable to plant these
rooted layers in nursery for close attention than to plant them directly in field.These layers can
be planted in the fields in after establishment in nursery.

2. Ground layering: In this method, a branch of plant, which is near the ground, is chosen and
a ring of bark about 2.5 cm is diameter is removed just below the bud. This branch is then
bended and buried in soil when still attached to the mother plant. The soil is regularly watered
to keep it moist. Within a few weeks, the roots are formed and new plant is separated from the
mother plant. Separation should be done in such a way that the roots formed also go with the
detached plant. These new plants should preferably be planted in pots or nursery rows for
development of better root system and shoot system before planting in the fields. This method
is commonly followed for propagation of lemon.

3. Mound layering: In this method, plant is headed back either in February or in July. The new
shoots come out during April and September, from ground level. A ring of bark is removed
from these shoots and they are covered with moist soil. The rooted stools of April are separated
during rainy season and those of August are removed in the following spring. These stools,
after separating from the parent plant are planted in the nursery fields. This method is also
known as stool layering and is used for propagation of guava and apple rootstocks.


Budding is a method in which only one bud is inserted in the rootstock. This method is very
easy and fast. This method saves bud wood as compared to grafting. As soon as the bark starts
slipping both on the stock and scion, this is considered to be the optimum time for budding.
This shows that the cambium, which is the tissue responsible for union, is active. This method
is generally employed during spring and rainy season. The common methods of budding are T-
budding, patch budding, and chip budding.

1. T-Budding : This is also known as shield budding. A horizontal cut about 1/3rd the distance
around the stock is given on the stock 15-20cm above then ground level. Another vertical cut 2-
3 cm in length is made down from the middle of the horizontal cut and flaps of the bark are
loosened with ivory end of the budding knife to receive the bud. After the ‘T’ has been made in
the stock the bud is removed from the bud stick. To remove the shield of bark containing the
bud, a slicing cut is started at a point on the bud stick about 1.25 cm below the bud, continuing
underneath about 2.5 cm above the bud. A second horizontal cut is then made 1.25 to 2 cm
above the bud, thus permitting the removal of the shield piece. The shield is removed along
with a very thin slice of wood. The shield is then pushed under the two raised flaps of bark
until its upper horizontal cut matches the same cut on the stock. The shield should fix properly
in place, well covered by the two flaps of bark, but the bud itself exposed. The bud union
should be wrapped with polythene strip to hold the two components firmly together until the
union is completed. T budding can be performed at any time of the year provided cell sap flows
freely. In most fruit trees it is performed either in the spring (March-April) or in rainy
season.(July-September) period.

2. Patch Budding : In Path budding .a rectangular or square patch or piece of bark about 1.0-
1.5 cm broad and 2.5 cm long is removed from the rootstock (Plate 4) at about 15 to 20 cm
from ground level. A similar patch with a bud on it is removed from the bud stick taking care
not to split the bark beneath the bud. This patch is then transferred to rootstock and fixed
smoothly at its new position and tied immediately with polythene strip. To have better success,
a patch having two buds is used as scion instead of a single bud. This method is termed as
improved patch budding method.

3. Chip Budding : This method is usually employed when the stock and scion are still
dormant, that is just before the start of new growth. In this method, one about 2.5 cm long
slanting cut is given into the stock followed by another cut at lower end of this first cut, in such
a way that a chip of bark is removed from the stock. The bud from the scion wood is removed
in the same way so that it matches the cuts given in the rootstock. This chip with a bud on it is
fitted smoothly into the cut made in the rootstock taking care that the cambium layers of the
stock and scion unite at least on one side. The bud is then tied and wrapped with polythene
strip, to prevent drying up of the bud. Apart from these there are many other methods of
budding such I budding, Inverted T budding, ring budding, flute budding, forkart budding
which are used in different crops


Grafting is another method of vegetative propagation, where two plant parts are joined together
in such a manner that they unite and continue their growth as one plant. In this method, the
scion twig has more than two buds on it. The different methods of grafting are tongue grafting,
cleft grafting, approach grafting, side grafting and veneer grafting.

1. Tongue Grafting : This method is commonly used when the stock and scion are of equal
diameter. First, a long, smooth, slanting cut of about 4 to 5 cm long is made on the rootstock.
Another downward cut is given starting approximately 1/3rd from the top and about centimeter
in length. Similar cuts are made in the scion wood exactly matching the cut given in the
rootstock. The scion having 2 to 3 buds is then tightly fitted with the rootstock taking care that
the cambium layer of at least one side of the stock and scion unites together. This is then
wrapped with polythene strip.

2. Cleft grafting : This is also known as wedge grafting. This method is useful in the nursery
where the rootstock is quite thicker than scion and tongue grafting cannot be employed
successfully. The stock up to 8 cm in thickness can be grafted with this method. The rootstock
to be grafted is cut smoothly with Secateur or saw. It is then split in the middle down to about 4
cm. The bud stick having 3 to 4 buds is trimmed like a wedge at the lower end with outer side
slightly broader than the inner side. The lower bud on the scion should be located just well in to
the stock making sure that the cambium layers of both the stock and scion are perfectly

3. Approach Grafting : This method of grafting is termed approach grafting, as the rootstock
is approached (Plate 7) to the scion, while it is still attached to the mother plant. Alternatively
the mother plants are trained to be low headed and the stock is sown under their canopy. Last
week of July or the first week of August is the best period for approach grafting. In this method
the diameter of rootstock and scion should be approximately the same. A slice of bark along
with a thin piece of wood about 4 cm long is removed from matching portions of both the stock
and the scion. They are then brought together making sure that their cambium layers make
contact at least on one side. These grafts are then tied firmly with polythene strip or any other
tying material. The stock and scion plants are watered regularly to hasten the union. The union
is complete in about 2 to 3 months. A cut is then given to the scion shoot about half way
through its thickness. If the shoot does not show any sign of wilting for a week or so it is
completely detached from the mother plant. In case the scion starts wilting it shows that the
union is not complete. In such cases the scions are detached from the mother plants after some
days when the union is complete. The method is commonly followed in mango. This method is
also called inarching.

4. Side Grafting : A cut of about 4 x 1.25 cm size is made on the rootstock at a height of about
30 cm from the ground level and the bark of the demarcated portion is lifted away from the
rootstock. A matching cut is also made on the base of the scion to expose cambium. The scion
should be prepared well before the actual grafting is done. The healthy scion shoots from the
last mature flush are selected for this purpose. The selected scion shoots should have plump
terminal buds. After the selection of the scion shoots; remove the leaf blades, leaving petioles
intact. In about 7 to 10 days the petioles shall drop and terminal buds become swollen. At this
stage the scion stick should be detached from the mother tree and grafted on the stock. The
prepared scion is inserted under the bark flap of the rootstock so that the exposed cambia of the
two components are in close contact with each other. The bark flap of the rootstock is resorted
in its position. The graft union is then tied firmly with polythene strip. After the completion of
the grafting operation, a part of the top of rootstock is removed to encourage growth of the
scion. When the scion has sprouted and its leaves turned green, the root stock portion above the
graft union should be cut away. Side grafting can be carried out successfully from March to
October; but success during the May and October is rather low.

5. Veneer Grafting : In this method, a shallow downward cut of about 4 cm long is given on
the rootstock at a height of about 15-20 cm from the ground level. At the base of this cut, a
second short downward and inward cut is made to join the first cut, so as to remove a piece of
wood and bark. The scion is prepared exactly as in side grafting. The cuts on the rootstock and
scion shoot should be of the same length and width so that the cambial layers of both
components match each other. Then, the prepared scion is inserted into the rootstock and tied
security with polythene strip. After the union is complete the stock is cut back, leaving time for
doing veneer grafting.

Propagation through Specialized Organs

1. Runners : A runner is a specialized stem that develops from the axil of a leaf at the crown
of a plant. It grows horizontally along the ground and forms a new plant at one of the
nodes e.g. strawberry. The runner production is favoured by long day and high temperature.
The daughter plants are separated and used as new planting material.
2. Suckers : A shoot arising on an old stem or underground part of the stem is known as
suckers. In other words, a sucker is a shoot, which arises on a plant below the ground.
These shoots, when separated from the mother plant and transplanted produce adventitious
roots. The capacity of a plant to form suckers varies from plant to plant, variety to variety
and is even climate dependent. The sucker formation is common in fruit plants like pear
and banana. In banana, sword suckers are commonly used for propagation of plants.
3. Separation : The bulbous crops such as garlic, corms etc are propagated by breaking the
bulbs and cloves are used for multiplication of plants.
4. Divisions : the rhizome crops such as turmeric, ginger are multiplied by dividing the
5. Offsets : The side shoots of plants such as pine apple, date palm are used for multiplication
of new plants.
6. Tubers : The tubers are used for multiplying the new plants. Potato is multiplied through

1.4 Micro Propagation

Apart from conventional methods of propagation such as sexual and asexual methods, there are
special techniques of propagation, which have played an important role in enhancing efficiency
plant production. Micro propagation is a rapid and large-scale clonal multiplication technical
which can be used for rapid multiplication elite lines.. The technique has been referred as micro
propagation because the size of the tissue in culture is very minute as compared to conventional
vegetative cutting or any other plant part. The meristem is used for micro propagation is about
0.1-0.5 mm size having only one or two leaf primordia. The micro propagation technique has
been standardized for many plants, and it, is now widely used for multiplication of many
horticultural plants.


1. Year around production of plants irrespective of seasonal constraints.

2. Small space is required to maintain and multiply large number of plants.
3. Small tissue is required as an explant, hence saves the scion wood to a great extent.
4. Speedy international exchange of germplasm, requiring minimum quarantine checks is
5. Micro propagated plants are usually free from viruses
6. Production of homozygous plants is possible under in vitro conditions
7. It is highly beneficial in plants in which vegetative propagation is not possible or the
propagation rate is very slow (papaya and date palm)
8. In vitro systems have the potential for long-term transportation or shipment of propagation


The second important factor for nursery is the source of planting material such seed of scion
wood. The seed of horticultural crops are available with the agencies developing the varieties.
But the source of scion wood are limited as the transportation and storage of scion wood is
difficult .The best option is the nursery man should develop his own mother plant blocks or he
may select the elite plants from the existing orchard

Selection of Elite Mother Trees
1. It should be of known identity
2. It should have production potential
3 It should have commercial acceptance
4 It should be free from pests and pathogens

Selection of Scion Wood

1. The scion should be from mature shoot i.e. at least one year old.
2. A scion wood of diameter 0.6-1.2 cm is satisfactory for better bud wood.
3. The scion shoot should have healthy, well-developed round and plump buds.
4. Scion should be selected from elite trees known for quality production of fruits.
5. Scion wood should be free from any bacterial, fungal and viral diseases.
6. The scion should be dormant, while selected for grafting on rootstock.
7. The best scion wood can be obtained from the central portion or from the basal portion of
shoot. The terminal sections, which are generally succulent, should be discarded.

Collection and Storage of Bud Wood: The best quality scion wood usually comes from
shoots grown in the previous season. Scions should be severed with sharp, clean shears or
knives and placed immediately in moistened plastic bags. It is good practice during the
harvesting of scions and the making of grafts to clean the cutting tools regularly.

Selection of Rootstock
1. Rootstock should have a proper vigour and growth habits.
2. Rootstock should be resistant to soil born diseases and other pests.
3. Rootstock should be tolerant/ resistant to toxic salts like Na, Mg, and Ca etc.
4. It should have wide range of adaptability for different soil and climatic conditions.
5. Should have wide range of graft compatibility.
6. Should be easy to propagate.
7. It should not go under any mutation.
8. Its age should be one to one and half years and not more than 2years.
9. Its diameter should be greater than 1 cm.

3.0 LAND

The nursery required a moderate area fro production of sufficient number of plants but it is
not necessary nurseries should have a large area. The size of nursery and site selection depends
on many factors, including production method and crops grown. Plants can be propagated in
outdoor beds, propagation frames, and various types of greenhouse structures. In addition to
these growing areas, space for soil preparation, potting, and transportation will be needed. An
adequate, clean, pest-free water source must be available. Propagation in beds requires a well-
drained, well-aerated soil .The site should have good air circulation and a slightly sloping
topography for excess water runoff. Frost pockets and windy locations should be avoided. The
disease hot spots and nematodes affected soil should not be selected for the nursery purpose.


Various types of plant propagation structures are used in nursery for multiplication,
maintenance and growth of nursery plants. The important ones are green house, hot beds, cold
frames, Lath house /shade net house, phytotrones, polyethylene tunnels etc.

Green House

Greenhouse is a house covered with transparent material under which the crops can be grown
in partially controlled climatic conditions. The construction of green house is an important for
nursery, thus the selection of site, type of green house construction material etc. should be
selected as per the climatic conditions and requirement of the nursery. The site of the green
house should well drained, near to road, electricity and water connection. The orientation of
glass is an important factor. The single span green houses should have east-west orientation
while multi-span green houses should have north-south orientation .In natural ventilated green
houses, the ventilators should be on lee ward side.
Wind breaks must be at least 30 m away on northern and western sides. The green can be
categorized on the basis of shape such as Maxi-Vent, Saw tooth ventilation, Gutter ventilation,
Cabrio ventilation; construction material used, roofing material. The frame work of polyhouse
can constructed with wooden logs/ bamboo, GI pipes, M. S. pipes. The wooden/bamboo frames

are cheaper but there life is 2-3 years only. The MS. Pipes are costlier they can works for 10
years. The G.I. structures are costliest but their life is more than 15 years.

Table 1 : Material for green house

Material for structure Expetced life Cost(Rs/sqm) Material
Wooden Polyhouse 3 years 100/- Bamboo, eucalyptus etc
M.S. Polyhouse 10years 350 /- Zinc, Al coatings
G.I. Polyhouse 15 years 450 /- Zinc, Alu. coatings

Roofing Materials

Different types of roofing material are used for glass houses. They differ in their cost a
durability and transparency. Some of them are as follows:
Glass – It is more expensive than plastic coverings, yet for a permanent installation, glass may
be more satisfactory than others. Glass is superior to plastic coverings in light transmitting
properties and lower relative humidity problems.
Flexible covering material – Polyethylene is a low-cost plastic for covering propagation
structures. But life span is less.
Rigid covering material - Acrylic (Plexiglass, Lucite, Exolite) is a highly weather resistant
material, has excellent light transmission properties, retains twice the heat of glass, and is very
resistant to impact, but is brittle.
Polycarbonate – This material is similar to acrylic in heat retention properties, with about 90
percent of the light transmission of glass.
Fiberglass – a corrugated or flat resin reinforced with fiberglass is long lasting, lightweight,
and easily applied.

Table 2: roofing material for green house

Material Transmittance % (PAR)
Glass Panels 90
Polythene Single layer 88
Polythene Double layer 77
FRP clear 89
FRP Jade 81

Polycarbonate sheet 91

Hot beds- Hotbeds are the trays fitted with heating facilities to provide required temperature in
the rooting zone for better rooting and root growth.
Cold beds-These are similar to Hotbeds but heating facilities are not to provide in cold beds
Tunnels- A tunnel is made from hoped metal tubing or bent PVC pipe, which is covered with
polyethylene plastic sheets.
Lath house or shade house: These are same as greenhouses but opaque material or shade
material is used to provide shade and protect plants from high summer temperatures and high
light intensity.


The growing medium should be decomposed and stable, sufficiently porous, disease and pest
free, low in salinity, consistently uniform, available and economical. Different types of
growing media are used for nursery plants as per their availability. The sand and compost are
most commonly used growing media.
Sand – decomposed quartz particles 0.05 to 2.0 mm in diameter.
Peat Moss – decomposed bog vegetation used to hold water in soil mixes
Vermiculite – a hydrated magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate mica mineral that expands when
Perlite – Perlite is a gray-white volcanic silica material. The particle size ranges from 1.6 to 3
mm in diameter.
Pumice – Volcanic rock used in mixes to increase aeration and drainage.
Shredded Bark - wood products made from redwood, cedar, fir, pine, hemlock, or various
hardwood bark species as a component in growing and propagating mixes.
Compost – Copmopst is deomposed orgniac material which is used to increse aeration and
water holding capacity of medium.
The treatment of growing media is required for the destroying the pathogen, weed seed and
others harmful organisms present in the growing medium. The heating is the most common
method. It kills almost all the organism if heated up to 900C.but heating large quantity of media
is difficult. The chemicals such as formaldehyde, chloropicrin etc. are recommended for this
purpose. But many of them are now restricted. The solar treatment of the media is most
economical and effective.


Several types of containers are used for the multiplication of nursery plants. Some of them are
as follows:
1. Flats – These are shallow plastic, Styrofoam, wooden, or metal trays. They are general
used for seed germination or stem rooting. The 11 x 21 inch plastic flats are the industry
2. Clay Pots – These are used for growing plants. They are easily broken, and accumulate
salts and calcium on the clay surface.
3. Plastic Pots – lightweight, reusable, round or square containers used for the propagation of
seeds, bedding, and flowering plants.
4. Fiber Pots – Round or square, pressed peat or wood fiber containers. Popular because they
are biodegradable and can be installed in the ground with the plant.
5. Peat and Fiber Blocks – solid, pre punched containers used for germinating medium for
seeds and as a rooting medium for cuttings, especially for chrysanthemums and poinsettias.
6. Plastic Containers - heavy to thin-walled, black, gray or white, one -, three-, and five-
gallon containers used for transplanting and upgrading liner stock for future growth and
7. Polyethylene Bags – a plastic bag used for growing rooted cuttings or seedling liners to a
salable size. They are considerably less expensive than rigid plastic containers and seem to
be satisfactory as containers.
8. Wood Containers – a square box constructed for holding large, field-grown, woody plants
for several months or years.
9. Synthetic rooting blocks
10. Metals pots

Mixture for containers

The mixture used for different type of plants is different but in general in clay soil more
san and compost should be mixed while in sandy soil, only compost is mixed. In clay soil, 2
part of san,1 part soil and 2 part compost should be mixed . In Silty soil, 1part sand 1part soil
and 1part compost should be mixed while in sandy soil 1 part soil and I part compost should be


The small tools such as spade, hand hoe, budding grafting knife, patch budding knife, pruning
saw, rake, sieve, rose can, hosepipe etc. are essential for nursery. The small machine such as
sieving and mixing machine, Potting / bag filling machine etc increase the efficiency and
reduces labour charges.


Water Management

Water is very important for nursery plants. The quality and amount of water affects the growth
and survival of the plants. The drip and sprinkler irrigation system can be used for efficient use
of available water. The irrigation shouldn’t contain higher soluble salt. The more salt hamper
the growth of plants. If water has more soluble salt water should be treated after irrigation. The
rainwater harvesting is good option for nursery plants as it contains low salt.

Weed Management

Weed management is important for nursery plants particularly young seedlings. The potting
mixture should be treated properly to kill the weeds seeds. Further mulching can be done for
control of weed between the rows and plants. The vacant areas of nursery may be sprayed with
broad-spectrum weedicides such as Glyphosate before rains.

Disease and Pest Management

The control of disease of pest is important for nursery safe pesticides and organic disease and
pests formulation can be for nursery plants.


The commercialization of different fruit plants and with the urge to produce superior quality
cultivars, there is uncontrolled importation of varieties within the country and across the
countries. Such movement of bud wood across the globe results in spread of viral diseases from
one region to the other, which needs to be controlled. Bud wood certification has a prominent
role in this direction, provided if done in each and every case of germplasm movements within
the countries.

Bud Woods are packed kept in polythene bags containing damp sawdust/wrapped in moist
pieces of gunny bags/polythene bags Although, essential requirements are to keep the wood
moist and viable, but not so wet as to rot, and maintaining a cool enough temperature to prevent
premature bud swelling and protecting against freeze damage. Clearly labeled outside
packaging is required for bud woods.
Nurseries generally market their plant material through wholesale outlets, often on a contract
basis. Wholesalers produce plants that are sold to other nurserymen, landscapers, or retailers.
The plants are packed in bamboo baskets and cartons and transported through mini trucks,
trucks etc.,

Production of quality planting material of Coorg mandarin
Senior Scientist (Hort.)
CHES, Chettalli – 571 248


Coorg mandarin is known for colour, quality, flavour and is largely grown in the states of
Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala. The traditional Coorg mandarin growing areas
experience subtropical climate with high rainfall and low temperature during winter
months. Kodagu is known for its quality mandarin production besides growing other
plantation and spice crops like coffee, cardamom and black pepper. In 1940, the area
under mandarin cultivation in Coorg was only 9494 acres, which steadily increased to
43,252 acres in 1970.Thereafter, the area under mandarin cultivation slowly declined and
reached the lowest level of about 15,000 acres in 1998 and believed to have dwindled to
2358 acres in 2008-09.The production per hectare is much lower than in the advanced
countries (25-30t/ha). Unavailability of disease free planting material of Coorg mandarin
has been the basic reason for such a low production besides short productive life and
gradual decline of citrus.
Nursery management is the most important aspect of citriculture and is the basis for a
sound and productive citrus industry. Besides the horticulture aspects like clonal selection
for sustained high productivity and best quality of fruits, the mother plants selected for
propagation must be kept free from insect pests and diseases. The mother plants infected
with virus diseases become the main source of disease spread through graft transmission.
Similarly, the use of susceptible/ Phytophthora infected rootstock becomes the primary
source of spread for Phytophthora diseases which cause several serious diseases like root
rot, coller/ crown rot and gummosis in orchard and damping off and root rot in nurseries
and seed beds. Thousands of citrus plants succumb to Phytophthora diseases every year
in India. More than 20 % plants die due this pathogen in citrus nurseries and rest
apparently healthy looking plants from such nurseries become the primary source of
spread of Phytophthora to new area. The Phytophthora infected nursery stock when
planted in orchard grows poorly, takes longer period to establish and in most of the cases
die/ decline at bearing stage.

A mission oriented programme on production of disease free planting material of Coorg
mandarin by adopting the most advanced and internationally accepted techniques of
nursery management duly standardized at the Central Horticultural Experiment Station,
Chettalli. The disease free plants (from virus , bacteria and fungal diseases) are being
raised to supply to the nurseries for raising mother plants and to the citrus growers to
over come the problem of citrus decline. The techniques adopted and internationally
recommended in protection of disease free planting material of citrus are discussed.

Citrus Nursery Systems

Citrus plants are propagated in field nurseries and in containerized nurseries. In India,
majorities of citrus nurseries are field nurseries and in even advanced countries, the citrus
is being propagated in field nurseries though with completely controlled sanitation

Field nursery
The site selection is an important criterion while opting for field Nurseries. Besides the
basic requirements like availability of clean water and transportation, the location of field
nursery must be far away and isolated from the commercial plantation. The isolated
location is an important requirement to raise disease free citrus plants otherwise in
vicinity of commercial plantation, it is practically impossible to raise citrus plants free
from diseases. The soil of the site should be well drained. Poorly drained and heavy soils
retard root development and favour infection by root rot fungi like Phytophthora in the
field nurseries. It is difficult to contain diseases in field nursery because there are ample
chances of introduction of pathogens through air, soil, water and the worker. Once
introduced becomes very difficult to eradicate the soil borne pathogens.
The primary nursery beds in the field nursery should be at least 2 feet high with well-
drained soil mix. These soil beds should be either solarized in summer months and/ or
fumigated with soil fumigant like Basamid (Dazomet) to eliminate the chances of
pathogen in it.

Containerized nursery system

To avoid the problems of sanitation in field nursery, the concept of containerised nursery
system is widely adopted for rising citrus plants. The infrastructure required for such
nurseries includes shade net houses, sterilized plastic trays, UV stabilized polybags

(100µ), UV stabilized transparent polythene for solarization and fumigation of putting
mixture and a separate set of nursery equipments, etc.,

Potting mixture
The Potting mixture consists of one part of fertile soil and two parts of sand may be used
for primary nursery beds and for the secondary nursery. The pot mix is sterilized through
soil solarization and fumigation to eliminate the soil borne fungi, nematodes and other

Soil solarization
The soil solarization is an important non- chemical, natural hydrothermal technique for
disinfesting the soil from a number of plant pathogens and insect-pests. The process is
accomplished through passive solar heating integrating physical, chemical and biological
mechanisms. Soil solarization is a passive solar process where soil is heated to maximal
level during daytime and the increased soil temperature inactivates fungal, bacterial and
nematode pathogens, weeds and certain insects. In tropical parts of the world, the intense
solar radiation can be utilized in the process of soil disinfestations through this eco-
friendly process. Direct thermal inactivation of soil borne pathogens and pests is the most
obvious and important mechanism of the solarization. Besides disinfestation from soil
borne pathogens, the solarized soil also undergoes various physical and chemical
changes. The increase in the concentration of soluble mineral nutrient has been observed
in solarized soil. The concentration of NH4-N and NO3 –N has been recorded to increase
from 26-177 Kg/ ha in the top 15 cm soil depth in soil types ranging from loamy sand to
silty clay. The biological environment of the solarized soil also changes with creation of
biological vacuum after inactivating pathogenic microorganisms and consequently, the
soil microorganisms survived the solarization grow faster and occupy the soil
environment. The increased availability of nutrients and minimum competition by
inactivating the other microflora enhances the activity of other soil microorganisms,
which include mostly antagonists. To solarized the potting mixture to be used in nursery
beds, filling the trays for seed sowing or for transplant of seedling in the polybags, the
potting mixture is to be spread in the form of flat bed of 1.5’ thick layer on a concrete
floor. These beds should be completely drenched with water before covering it with 100µ
UV stabilized transparent polyethylene sheets in summer months (April – May) when
atmospheric day temperature rises up to maximum. The edges of polythene sheet must be

completely sealed with soil to avoid vapour loss, which allowed the inside temperature to
rise maximum upto 10o C than the open. Soil solarization should be done for a period of
4-6 weeks. The solarization for 4-6 weeks time eliminates most of fungal, bacterial and
nematode pathogens from the soil. The Population of soil microflora should be monitored
for Phytophthora, Fusarium and Rhizoctonia etc. after solarization.

Soil fumigation
The monitoring of solarized soil decides whether the soil is to be fumigated or not. The
soil fumigation of the solarized soil can be done effectively with Basamid (Dazomet)
granules, a soil fumigant, which releases methyl isocynide gas and thereby, completely
eliminates Phytophthora spp., Pythium spp., Rhizoctonia spp. and Fusarium spp. from the
soil. Treat the soil by thoroughly mixing with Dazamet @ 40g per pit and cover with
polyethylene sheet.Keep the soil, thus air tight for 7-15 days. After fumigation the soil
beds should loosed to remove the residues of fumigation and the soil should be tested
with seed germination test using quickly germinating seeds for their normal germination.
Next, loosen the soil to aerate for about 3-4 days before planting. Solarized and fumigated
potting mixture should be used to fill the trays used in seed sowing and bags in the
secondary nursery to transplant the rootstock seedlings. (Use hand gloves while handling
the chemical).

Primary nursery
In case of field nurseries, the raised soil beds should be prepared, duly solarized and if
required fumigated as described above for seed sowing. In case of containerized nursery,
the plastic trays (60x40x12 cm) should be used. These trays should be surface sterilized
with any available surface disinfectant. Liquid bleach available in market for fabrics may
be used after diluting it with clean water (1 part bleach and 3-part water). The trays must
be thoroughly washed with this solution and then rinsed with clean water to remove the
chlorine odour. These sterilized trays should be filled with solarized and/or fumigated pot
mix to saw the seeds. The trays should be kept at least 1.5-2 feet above the ground on
platform / benches to safeguard from splashing of soil from the ground and also to
provide air circulation under the trays. In any case, the trays or its soil mix or the
fertilizer, which is applied to these trays, should not be allowed to come in contact with
ground and should always be kept on clean concrete dry platform. The floor of the

nursery was covered with stone dust and boulders (2-4 inch thick) to avoid any splash of
soil borne pathogens and regularly sprayed / dusted with copper + lime mixture.

Collection of fruits and seed extraction

Fully ripened fruits of recommended rootstocks resistant to Phytophthora disease should
be collected. Fallen fruits should never be used for seed extraction because seed from
such fruits would have risk of Phytophthora introduction. Fresh, thoroughly washed and
surface sterilized seeds should be used for good germination. Standardization of
rootstocks for Coorg mandarin listed below:
Rangpurlime – moderately vigorous and drought tolerant
Trifoliate orange – excellent fruit quality and dwarfing
Rough lemon – extremely vigorous and drought tolerant

Seed sowing and germination

The seed should be sown at the depth of 1-1.5cm, and spaced at 2.5-3.0cm apart in a row
and 5-7cm between the rows under shade net. Seed germination starts within 20-25days
after sowing depending upon the rootstock. About 85-90% seed germination takes place
in fresh and healthy seeds.

Secondary nursery
Only nucellar seedling (based on visual observation) attaining the desirable height in
primary nursery beds should be selected to have true to type characteristics of selected
rootstock plants. The selected seedlings should be uprooted carefully to minimize root
damage, for transplanting in polybags by discarding either too dwarf or too tall seedlings.
The hook-necked, bent or twisted seedlings should be left out at the primary nursery
level. Regular monitoring is necessary to avoid any contamination of Phytophthora and
other soil borne pathogens. The seedlings should be transplanted in the month of July-
August after commencement of monsoon preferably during evening hours followed by

Selection of mother plants

Mother plants of 10-15 year ago having exceptionally good health, regular bearing,
consistently high yield with good quality fruit should be selected. The selected mother

trees must be kept under protected cover for virus detection tests to diagnose the health
status of these trees.

Diagnosis of virus and virus like diseases

More than fifteen virus and virus like pathogens have been reported to attack citrus in
India. Samples from identified elite mother plants should be tested for biological /
serological detection against major pathogens viz., citrus tristeza virus, citrus mosaic,
citrus ring spot, citrus exocortis, viroid and greening bacterium.

Serological diagnosis

Serological indexing at CHES, Chettalli for Coorg mandarin is done in DAS-ELISA by

using monoclonal (CTV), polyclonal (CTV, RS, mosaic) antibodies and PCR for Citrus


The biological indexing should also be performed simultaneously using indicator plants
like acid lime for tristeza, sweet orange for greening bacterium and mosaic virus and
Etrog citron for exocortis under insect proof controlled conditions.
Following the above procedure, the virus free plants from the selected elite mother plants
are identified for further multiplication.

Budwood selection
The buds should be selected from fairly well mature non-bearing current year shoots
having longitudinal white streak on the bark and swollen buds ready to grow after

Budding operation

Budding is performed when seedlings attain the girth of 3 to 3.5cm (pencil thickness) at
not less than 9” height. Patch budding method is adopted and the rootstock stem is cut
2-4” above the union after budtake.

Maintenance of budding plants

The budded plants should be given frequent light irrigation with automatic sprinklers and
/ or drip. Urea @ 5g or DAP @ 2g / plant should be applied twice in a month to get good
growth besides the regular recommended fertilizer mixture. The side shoots below the
bud union should be removed from time to time.

Plant protection measures

Monitoring for Phytophthora diseases

In citrus nurseries, Phytophthora diseases are the menace and may appear any time of
plant growth in nurseries through contaminated water, soil and even through nursery
workers and implements. A regular and strict monitoring should be done for
Phytophthora infection, if any and other diseases. In case of infection, the infected/
contaminated plants should immediately be removed along with the bag from the
containerized system and destroyed to keep the nursery totally free from Phytophthora
and other diseases. In field nursery, even the surrounding plants of the infected plants
should be discarded. Prophylactic sprays of metalaxyl + mancozeb at monthly interval to
control the introduction of Phytophthora is recommended. Nursery implements should be
disinfected regularly with sodium hypochloride or bleach solution and at the entry of
nursery, the arrangement must be made to disinfect the shoes of workers and visitors with
copper sulphate and lime dust.

Other nursery diseases

Foliar diseases like citrus scab, powder mildew, Alternaria leaf spot may be the problem.
The care must be taken to control these diseases in nursery to achieve good vegetative
growth of seedlings and budded plants.

Insect pest
The insect pests in secondary nursery should be managed with the regular spraying of
recommended insecticides.
Leaf miner : Imidacloprid ( 3ml/10 litres ) or Quinalphos ( 20ml/ 10 litres )
Citrus butterfly : Dimethoate ( 15ml/10litres) or Carboryl ( 20g/10litres)
Citrus psylla : Imidacloprid ( 3ml/10 litres ) or Acephate ( 10g/10 litres )
Citrus aphid : Dimethoate ( 15ml/10litres) or Quinalphos ( 20ml/ 10 litres
Precautionary Measures
1. Nursery site should be away from the citrus orchards.
2. Nursery should be raised in containers (plastic trays/polythene bags)
3. Only sterilized potting mixture should be used in primary and secondary nursery.
4. Always use fresh seeds extracted from healthy fruits and sow in trays under shade
conditions for better germination.

5. Seed trays or plastic containers must be kept at least 1.5-2.0’ above the ground to
avoid soil borne contamination. Nursery floor should be covered with stones/ stone
dust to avoid contamination from soil.
6. Only nucellar seedlings should be selected for further growth.
7. Seedlings with bent and twisted tap root system should be discarded and too long
taproot should be cut to ensure the straight penetration of root in soil.
8. Seedling should be transplanted during rainy season/ cloudy days in polythene bags
for better seedling stand. White transplanting in secondary nursery in polybags, the
seedlings should be treated with metalaxyl + mancozeb @ 2.75g and Carbendazim @
1g/lit water.
9. Budwood should be taken from disease free selected and certified elite mother plants
of known pedigree.
10. Budwood should be selected from fairly well mature non-bearing shoots of current
year growth from selected plants. High budding not less than 9” of height should be
11. Sterilized knife with alcohol or sodium hypochloride should be used for budding and
it should be regularly washed with surface disinfectant.
12. Selected mother plants should be monitored regularly for diseases.
13. Regular recommended plant protection measures should be followed to control insect
pests. Prophylactic measures should be taken against diseases and diseased plants
should be destroyed.
14. Set of nursery implements and workers should be separate and the entry of visitors
should be restricted in disease free area of nursery.

Nursery management is the most important aspect in Citriculture and is the basis for a
sound and productive citrus industry. Besides the horticultural aspects like clonal
selection for sustained high productivity and best quality of fruits, the mother plants
selected for propagation must be free from diseases. Utmost care should be taken to avoid
the diseases from the nursery. A profitable, highly productive and long-lived orchard can
only be raised from disease free nursery stock of Citrus.

Nursery management in black pepper and cardamom
Dr.S.J. Ankegowda
Senior Scientist and Head
Cardamom Research Centre, Indian Institute of Spices Research
Appangala, Madikeri, Kodagu, KARNATAKA

Pepper cultivars commonly grown in India

Kerala - North : Aimprian, Kalluvally, Karimunda, Kuthiravally, Balankotta,

Karimkotta, Uthirankotta
Central : Narayakodi, Kottanadan, Kuthiravally, Neelamundi, Mundi,
Vellanamban, Arakkulam munda, Kumbakodi, Thulakodi,
Arikottanadan, Karivilanchy, Chumala, Perumkodi,
South : Kottanadan, Aimpriyan, Balankotta, Arimulaku
Wynad : Karimunda, Aimprian, Kalluvally
Idukki : Karimunda, Thevamundi, Neelamundi
Karnataka : Malligesara, Uddakere, Doddagye, Karimalai, Kalluvally,
Karimunda, Karimalligesara
Tamil Nadu : Karimunda, Chumala
Andhra Pradesh : Kottanadan, Narayakodi, Uddakere

Plant propagation

1. Seeds
2. Vegetative propagation
 Single node cutting
 Two node cutting
 Planting of 3-4 node cuttings in the field to standard in rainy season
 Rapid clonal propagation using bamboo split
 Serpentine method

Steps in Establishment of nursery under Agro Shade net house

Month Operations
Nov-Dec Coiling and lifting of runners on stacks
Jan Preparation of nursery mixture and solarization
Mar VAM and Trichoderma and filling polybags .
Planting of 2 – 3 node cuttings, watering and covering with polythene
hood or arranging in polythene tunnel.
April Liftings polythene hood and spraying with fungicide
(Mancozeb 0.2%)
May Spraying and drenching with Pseudomonas fluoroscens or drenching
with 0.2% copper oxy chloride / 0.3% potassium phosphonate
June Spraying with 1% Bordeaux mixture / Spraying and drenching with
100-200ppm metalaxyl

Nursery techniques followed in IPC Countries

Country Propagation methods

India Rooted cuttings from serpentine/bamboo technique
Planting of runners
Planting of 2-3 rooted nodal cuttings
Sri Lanka Runner shoots, terminal shoots 2-3 rooted nodal cuttings

Indonesia Planting of 5-7 nodal cuttings 2-3 rooted nodal cutting, rooted
cuttings from serpentine/bamboo technique / polythene tubes

Malaysia Terminal shoots

Agricultural practices and their advantages

Lifting of runners and coiling Avoidance of rooting and soil-borne

Earthing up Avoidance of water stagnation and
prevention of feeder roots desiccation
Light mulching Avoidance of root desiccation
Irrigation in March - April Early uniform spiking and good setting
Opening drains Avoidance of water stagnation, excessive
moisture and root infection
Skirting (leaving 1 or 2 runners for Avoidance of soil-borne spread through
rejuvenation) splashing
Healthy vigorously growing planting Good establishment and avoidance of
material nematodes and fungal pathogens
Solarization of rooting mixture Avoidance of soil-borne infection
Removal of infected parts Reduction of air-borne infection
Destruction of dead vines Reduction of soil-borne infection

Tips for pepper cultivation

• Irrigate the pepper in April-May

• Drench with Copper oxy chloride (0.2%) -5 litre/vine in April-May
• Shade regulation in April
• Fertilizer application in May-June, Neem cake, FYM, dolomite
• 1% BM in June
• Carbendazim in July to control anthracnose
• 1% BM spary in August-September
• Fertilizer, neem cake + farm yard manure application in September

Avoidance of close planting Reduction of plant to plant spread through splashes and
root contact
Selection of sloppy land for Reduction of chances for spread
Mixed cropping systems Reduction of chances for spread
Avoidance of excess shade Reduction of damp conditions which influences in
inoculum build-up. Higher proportion of bisexual
flowers and proper setting
Liming Correcting soil pH and creating microclimate for
multiplication of useful microorganisms
Application of vermicompost, Correcting plant nutrition problems, enrichment of soil
cow dung slurry, Gober gas micro flora and growth promotion
slurry and cow urine

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum Maton.)

Characters cv. Malabar cv. Mysore cv. Vazhukka

Adaptability Lower altitudes Higher altitudes Wide range
900-1200 m
Place Karnataka Kerala Kerala and parts of
Tamil Nadu
Plant growth Medium Robust Robust
Panicles Prostrate Erect Semi erect
Capsules Round or oblong Bold, elongated Round to oblong
Leaf petiole Short Long Long
Capsule colour at Pale/golden/ Green Green
maturity yellow

Released varieties of cardamom

Variety Source Yield Areas recommended for

(kg/ha) cultivation

IISR Coorg IISR, CRC, Appangala 409 Kodagu&Hassan districts of

Suvasini Karnataka

PV-1 KAU, Pampadumpara 260 All cardamom tracts of

Kerala & Karnataka

Mudigere 1 UAS, Bangalore 275 Malnad region of Karnataka

Mudigere 2 UAS, Bangalore 476 Traditional cardamom

growing Tracts of hill zones
of Karnataka

ICRI-1 ICRI, Myladumpara 325 South Idukki zone of Kerala

ICRI-2 ICRI, Myladumpara 375 Vandanmettu & Nelliampathi


ICRI-3 ICRI, Myladumpara 439 Hill zones of Karnataka

ICRI-4 ICRI, Thadiyankudisai 455 Lower Pulneys in Tamil Nadu

Pre release varieties and land races

Variety Developed by Features

PV – 2 KAU, Pampadumpara Adapted to Idukki area
IISR Avinash IISR, CRC, Appangala Rhizome rot resistant
IISR Vijetha IISR, CRC, Appangala Mosaic resistant

Nutrient Management in Nursery Plants
Dr. S. Hazarika
Senior Scientist (Soil Science)
CHES, Chettalli – 571 248

There are 16 essential nutrients required for plant growth and development. In absence of
any one of these essential nutrients, plant can’t complete its life cycle. The 16 essential
elements are: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P),
potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sulfur (S), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn),
zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo) and chlorine (Cl). Of these 16
elements, all except carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen are derived from the soil. Some of
these nutrients viz. nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur are
required in greater quantity and therefore, called as macronutrient. Nutrients viz. iron,
copper, manganese, zinc, boron, molybdenum and chlorine are required in relatively
smaller quantity and therefore, called as micronutrients. Nutrients are required for plant in
sufficient quantity and in suitable proportion for better growth and development. Nutrient
deficiency can lead to poor and stunted growth of plants resulting in poor performance.
Often nurserymen are encountered with some deficiency symptoms appearing in nursery
plants and therefore, they should have sufficient knowledge to identify the deficiency
symptoms so that corrective steps can be taken effectively.

Preparation of potting mixtures for nursery plants

There are several potting media for growing nursery plants. To save transportation cost
locally available products should be used. The potting mixture should have the following
characteristics :

 It should contain sufficient organic matter to supply nutrients and to maintain

optimum soil porosity for water holding and aeration.
 pH of the potting mixture should be near neutral or neutral (6.5-7.0). Acid or alkaline
pH affects nutrient supply (either toxicity or deficiency) as well as microbial activity
in soil.
 It should contain optimum air filled porosity for root aeration.
 It should contain sufficient drainage capacity to avoid water stagnation in container.

Most commonly used one is loam soil mixed with suitable proportion of sand and
organic matter (FYM, compost, vermin-compost, leaf mold, oil cakes etc.). Ideal loam
soil contains 40% sand, 40% silt and 20% clay. While preparing potting mixture 1 part of
ideal loam soil is mixed with 1 part sand and 1 part compost. But, when the soil is
loamy but proportion of clay is more in that case 1 part of soil is mixed with 2 parts of
sand and 1 part of compost. Compost used for potting mixtures should be well
decomposed. Don’t mix chemical fertilizers in the potting mixtures because its direct
contact with the young roots may adversely affect of nursery plants.

Application of nutrients to nursery plants

Direct application of chemical fertilizers in polythene bags to take care of nutrient

requirements of plants is usually avoided because direct contact of fertilizer may affect
the young roots of nursery plants. Supply of nutrient from soil will be adequate provided
the potting mixture is rich in organic matter. Mixing of well decomposed good quality
compost with potting mixture is needed to supply nutrients to the plants in sufficient
quantity. Besides, to avoid nutrient deficiency foliar applications of nutrients are
necessary. Foliar spray of Poly Feed (Haifa Make) or equivalent products can be used to
take care of nutrient requirement of plants. Generally foliar spray of 0.5% (i.e. 0.5 g per
litre of water) Poly Feed (21:21:21 with micronutrients) at 15-20 days interval is
recommended to catre the needs of nutrient requirement of nursery plants. The nutrient
composition of Poly Feed is given hereunder:

Table 1. Nutrient composition of Poly Feed

Nutrient Content
Nitrogen (N) 21%
Phosphorous (P2O5) 21%
Potash (K2O) 21%
Micronutrient (ppm)
Iron 1300
Manganese 660
Boron 200
Zinc 200
Copper 140
Molybdenum 90

Nutrient deficiency in nursery plants and their remedies

The nutrient deficiency symptoms appear in nursery plants when growing media
fails to supply sufficient nutrients in suitable proportion to the plants. The deficiencies
symptoms are manifested in various plant parts. The deficiency symptoms of different
macro and micro elements and their corrective measures are given hereunder.

Table 2. General visual symptoms of nutrient deficiency in nursery plants

Plant Nutrient Visual symptoms

Light green to yellow appearance of leaves, especially older leaves;
stunted growth
Leaf tips look burnt, followed by older leaves turning a dark green or
Potassium Older leaves turn yellow initially around margins and die

Calcium Reduced growth or death of growing tips; hooking of leaf tip

Initial yellowing of older leaves between leaf veins spreading to younger
leaves, V shaped green island in chlorotic back ground
Initial yellowing of young leaves spreading to whole plant; similar
symptoms to nitrogen deficiency but occurs on new growth.
Initial distinct yellow or white areas between veins of young leaves
leading to spots of dead leaf tissue.
Manganese Interveinal yellowing or mottling of young leaves.
Interveinal yellowing on young leaves; reduced leaf size called “little
leaf” in the terminal growth
Death of growing points and deformation of leaves with areas of

The correction of nutrient deficiencies in nursery plant is needed to get healthy

seedlings so good price can be fetched from the buyers. The remedies for various nutrient
deficiencies are given in Table 3. To correct the deficiencies 2-3 sprays at 15-20 days
interval are needed. Foliar application should be done either during morning hours or late
evening and both sides of the leaves should be covered for better absorption of the

Table 3. Remedies of nutrient deficiency

Nutrient Remedy
Nitrogen Foliar spray with 1 % urea (10 g urea/lt. water)
Phosphorous Foliar spray of 2% DAP (20 g/lt)
Potassium Foliar spray of 1 % muriate of potash (10 g/lt)
Calcium Lime application in soil or foliar spray of 1% Calcium nitrate (10 g/lt)
Magnesium Lime application in soil or 0.5 % foliar spray of magnesium sulphate
(5 g/lt)
Zinc Foliar spray of 0.5% zinc sulphate (5 g/lt)
Iron Foliar spray of 0.5% ferrous sulphate (5 g/lt)
Manganese Foliar spray of 0.2-0.4% manganese sulphate (2-4 g/lt)
Copper Foliar spray of 0.5% copper sulphate (5 g/lt)
Boron Foliar spray 0.2% boric acid (2g/lt)
Molybdenum Foliar spray of 0.1% ammonium molybdate (1 g/lt)

Conclusion: Nutrient management in nursery is a vital component of scientific nursery

management. It should be given due importance by the nursery man to produce healthy
seedlings of plants.

Marketing intelligence for nursery plants

Scientist (SS)(Extension)
CHES, Chettalli – 571 248

Nursery production, which includes nursery and green house producers, contributes to
nation economy and creates employment. In the absence of a proper marketing system in
Karnataka, neither the nurserymen nor the consumers are adequately benefited. Our
objective was to explore marketing of commercial nurseries

Sales forecasting

It is based on no. of assumptions regarding customer and competitor behaviour as well as

market environment. Primarily a management device for defining and stimulating sales

All forecasts are built on three assumptions

What people say-surveys

What people do – test market buyers response
What people have done-time series analysis

Market demand
Total volume that would be bought by a defined customer group in a defined
geographical area in a defined time period in a defined marketing environment under a
defined market programme.

Estimating future demand

In most markets total demand and company demand are not stable, a good forecasting
becomes a key factor for profitable nursery.

Problems in marketing of nursery plants

There are three aspects in marketing of nursery plants,i.e Product, Price and

Adoption of seedlings vs disease free grafts

Particulars No Percentage
Seedlings 27 90
Disease free grafts 3 10
For adoption of seedlings vs disease free grafts, about 90% of growers opted for seedlings
where as only 10% opted for disease free grafts.

Differences between Seedlings Vs Disease Free Grafts

Sl.No Seedlings Disease free grafts
1 Less yield More yield
2 More diseases Less diseases
3 More duration Less duration

Problems in marketing of nursery plants

 Care of the nursery and planting of the trees required a commitment of time and
labour, which were in short supply.
 Lack of community infrastructure for replanting trees
 Poor linkages among farmers, researchers and extensionists
 Susceptibility of grafts to bacterial and viral diseases after four years
 Involvement of commission agents and price of the graft vary from nursery to nursery
 Lack of guidance to grow disease free grafts and organic method farming

Marketing channels followed by growers

Nursery producergrower
Nursery producer Wholesale dealers grower
Nursery producer Wholesale dealersretailer grower

Marketing Costs
1. The costs of distribution are a major marketing problem in nursery
2. The marketing costs incurred by the producer for the disposal of their plants
3. Transport cost to the farm
4. Loading and unloading charges
5. Commission charges

6. Packing charges
7. Distance of the nursery
8. Octroi, etc.,
Factors contributing to price fixation for nurseries
Sl.No F a c t o r s f o r p r i c e f i x a t i o n V a l u e R a n k
1 Production level cost 3.27 I
2 Plant grade 3.14 II
3 Market demand 2.99 III
4 Product uniqueness (quality) 2.79 IV
5 Other nursery price of plants 2.72 V
6 Inventory (tools, labour,) 2.41 VI
7 Last year’s price of grafts 2.33 VII
8 Inflation of inputs 2.00 VIII
(Source: Bridget K.Behe et.al.,2008.Regional Marketing Practices in U.S.Nursery
Production, Hort.Science, 43(7): 2075-2008)

Greatest importance to determine prices were production cost (3.27), plant grade (3.14),
market demand (2.99), product uniqueness (2.79) and others’ prices (2.72), because these
factors are critical to the success of their customers.

 To compete on the nursery market –quality of the plant which should meet the
approval of the ultimate purchaser should be ensured.
 The plants are mostly propagated in pots or polythene bags with soil free media
 Even though the plants appear small the roots of the same are in abundance for speedy
and healthy growth.
 A small box could hold hundreds of these plants resulting in reducing transportation
costs besides easy and convenient for dispatch.
 It also reduces the mortality rate and the health and life of these plants can be
sustained for a number of days before planting. Robust and healthy growth is assured
after planting.

Strategies for commercial nursery

 A focus on crops, farmers are familiar with and systems of production that built on
what was already practiced
 Investigation and pilot testing of market opportunities for nursery plants
 Action to strengthen and support self-help farmer groups and networking

 Awareness creation and Training and supply of mother plants to self help groups and
enterprising farmers to intensify nursery farming.
 Establishment of community nurseries to provide year-round employment.
The Coorg Foundation had plans to produce disease-free planting materials in
association with the CHES.
 Raising of grafts by farmers showed avoiding transport of grafts from other
regions, Grafts are grown in exactly same conditions (soil, water, climate) and
no transplanting injury occurred.
 Easy access to grafts is a source of motivation for planting more trees.
 Women must regain control over plants and the associated knowledge and
 Establishing nursery men co-operative society

The Nurserymen Co-operative Society

 Headquartered in Lalbagh, Bangalore the Nurserymen Cooperative Society has

branches in Mysore and Hassan.
 It has the twin objectives of getting “fair price” to the Nurserymen and “best quality”
product for the consumer at reasonable price.
 It has over 610 members with a paid up share capital of Rs. 13.11 lakhs. The
membership is open to only those who are nurserymen and seeds men by profession
in the State.
 The Society is currently facilitating the marketing of all Horticultural plants, seeds,
bulbs and other allied inputs.
 The Nurserymen bring their material directly to the Society. As soon as the material is
received from the Nurserymen, the material is displayed in an attractive way in
respective blocks.

Nursery men should have strategic planning and marketing decisions that move them
toward a competitive advantage. Awareness of changes over time is critical to nursery
farming in the supply chain if these firms want to adapt to meet the demands of their
changing customers.



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